Module Code: H8EVPSY
Long Title Evolutionary and Cross-Cultural Psychology
Title Evolutionary and Cross-Cultural Psychology
Module Level: LEVEL 8
EQF Level: 6
EHEA Level: First Cycle
Credits: 5
Module Coordinator: Philip Hyland
Module Author: Rebecca Maguire
Departments: School of Business
Specifications of the qualifications and experience required of staff  
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to:
# Learning Outcome Description
LO1 Demonstrate a critical awareness of how evolutionary theory can be applied to understand a range of psychological and social processes
LO2 Appraise the field of comparative psychology and consider how the study of animals can shed light on human behaviour
LO3 Critically evaluate how research in cross-cultural psychology can enhance our understanding of psychological processes and their evolutionary roots
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is required before enrolment on this module. While the prior learning is expressed as named NCI module(s) it also allows for learning (in another module or modules) which is equivalent to the learning specified in the named module(s).

No recommendations listed
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed
Entry requirements  

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Topic 1: Introduction to Evolutionary Psychology
• Core concepts in evolution: adaptations, natural and sexual selection • Pre-cursers to evolutionary psychology: ethology, sociobiology • Proximate (how?) vs. ultimate (why?) explanations of behaviour • Environmental influences on adaptations • Domain specificity in adaptations • Cognitive modules designed by selection
Topic 2: Evolutionary social psychology
• Mating relationships and behaviour – sexual strategies, cross-cultural universals and differences • Prosocial behaviour – kinship, parental investment, inclusive fitness, reciprocal alliance formation • Evolution of moral behaviour • Group behaviour – evolutionary and cultural insights
Topic 3: Evolutionary cognitive psychology
• The evolution of language – e.g. Pinker’s theory; examination of communication patterns in non-human species • Reasoning, problem solving and decision making – e.g. cheat-detection mechanisms; cognitive biases
Topic 4: Evolution of personality and individual differences
• Evolution of intelligence • Role of recurrent adaptive problems in stable individual differences • Gender differences in behaviour – cultural or evolutionary?
Topic 5: Evolution of maladaptive behaviour
• Explaining psychological disorders using evolutionary framework • Phobias and anxiety • Evolutionary basis of aggression and violence
Topic 6: Criticisms of evolutionary approach
• Non-genetic and non-adaptive explanations for behaviour • Significant cross-cultural variations • Cultural evolution
Assessment Breakdown%
End of Module Assessment50.00%


Full Time

Assessment Type: 430 % of total: 50
Assessment Date: n/a Outcome addressed: 1,2,3
Non-Marked: No
Assessment Description:
Group debate: Students will be assigned to a group that either emphasises the evolutionary roots or cultural influences on behaviour. They will be required to present their argument in class. This will also involve a peer-rated element.
End of Module Assessment
Assessment Type: Terminal Exam % of total: 50
Assessment Date: End-of-Semester Outcome addressed: 1,2,3
Non-Marked: No
Assessment Description:
Students will answer 2 out of 5 questions which may be based on any aspect of course content
No Workplace Assessment
Reassessment Requirement
Repeat failed items
The student must repeat any item failed

NCIRL reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Module Target Workload Hours 0 Hours
Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture No Description 24 Every Week 24.00
Independent Learning No Description 101 Every Week 101.00
Total Weekly Contact Hours 24.00

Module Resources

Recommended Book Resources
  • edited by Charles Crawford and Dennis Krebs. (2008), Foundations of evolutionary psychology, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates/Taylor & Francis Group, New York, [ISBN: 0-8058-5957-8].
  • Lance Workman and Will Reader. (2014), Evolutionary Psychology, 3rd. Cambridge University Press, [ISBN: 978110762].
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Christopher Badcock. (2000), Evolutionary psychology, Polity Press, Cambridge, [ISBN: 0745622062].
  • edited by Jerome H. Barkow, Leda Cosmides, John Tooby. (1995), The Adapted mind, Oxford University Press, New York, [ISBN: 0195101073].
  • Buss, D. M.. (2005), The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, Wiley..
  • David M. Buss. (2003), The evolution of desire, BasicBooks, New York, [ISBN: 046500802X].
  • Richard Dawkins. (1976), The selfish gene, Oxford University Press, New York, [ISBN: 0-19-857519-X].
  • edited by R. I. M. Dunbar and Louise Barrett. Oxford handbook of evolutionary psychology, Oxford ; Oxford University Press, c2007., [ISBN: 9780198568308].
  • Geoffrey Miller. (2001), The mating mind, Anchor Books, New York, [ISBN: 0-385-49517-X].
  • Steven Pinker. (1997), How the mind works, Norton, New York, [ISBN: 9780393318487].
  • Robert Wright. (1995), The moral animal, Vintage Books, New York, [ISBN: 0679763996].
This module does not have any article/paper resources
This module does not have any other resources
Discussion Note: